Fun STEAM Projects that Teach Real-World Skills in Two Days or Less!

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The life of an educator is a busy one. Finding the time to create a new 3D printing lesson from scratch can be hard when you’re in a rush. Whether you’re new to classroom 3D printing, or just strapped for time, you can achieve more with with Quick Projects from Thingiverse Education! From designing art sculptures to creating decoder rings, there’s a variety of free lessons that are fun, fast, and easy to complete. Each project includes a full lesson plan that’s approved for a variety of state learning standards. To help you get started, we’ve collected five Thingiverse lesson plans that your classroom can finish in two days or less.

Each lesson plan includes step-by-step instructions for a 3D printing project that’s approved for certain learning standards. Many projects include a grading rubric, reflection questions, requirements sheets, and more.

1. Lead a Group of Speedy Architects

Challenge your students to design their own buildings in the Speedy Architect Project! In this lesson, grades 3 through 8 will create buildings that meet critical design requirements. Students will connect 3D printed connectors to drinking straws to create final structures. They’ll team up to build the tallest building they can with a limited amount of materials and time. This way, students can become familiar with being creative under professional design constraints.

All it takes is 1 or 2 class periods for students to plan their designs, create models on TinkerCAD, and 3D print their final structures. Meeting Next Generation Science Standards, this lesson is a fun preview of more advanced science, engineering, and technology concepts.

2. Recreate a Famous Logic Riddle

In this activity, your students will help a farmer complete a puzzling mission. In A Fox, a Goose, and a Bag of Beans Logic Riddle, students will use deductive reasoning to figure out how a farmer could carry his items safely across a river. Grades 5 through 8 will 3D print models of the farmer, the fox, the goose, and the bag of beans to help them act out possible scenarios and solutions.

In about 25 minutes, you can challenge your students to think deductively, which will help them tackle proofs in the future. Thingiverse designer ereiser suggests introducing this project on the first day of school to reintroduce students to mathematical thinking.

3. Create Unique 3D Sculptures from 2D Sketches

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Transform your students’ sketches into complex art sculptures with the Art Connector Set SVG Conversion Project. Students will begin by drawing shapes within the circles provided. Then, they’ll photograph their drawings to upload them to their computers as .jpeg images. Once they’re uploaded, they’ll convert their images into SVG files. From there, they can import their SVG files into Tinkercad, where they’ll design and finalize their 3D print files. After 3D printing their circles, they’ll connect each print to form a unique art piece!

To achieve the same results in fewer steps, teachers can also use the ShapeMaker feature on the MakerBot PrintShop iPad App. All students would have to do is take a photo of their drawings or upload their files on the iPad, and then ShapeMaker converts them into CAD files that you can customize, resize, and print.

This project, optimized for grades 2 through 6, can be completed in 2-3 class periods. This lesson is a good introduction to advanced STEAM thinking. It meets National Core Art Standards for elaborating on artistic ideas and devising multiple approaches to a design problem. Teaching students how to visualize and convert 2D sketches into 3D objects primes them for the work they’ll encounter in design, digital manufacturing, and engineering jobs in the future.

4. Explore Cryptography with Decoder Rings!

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Introduce young mathematicians to cryptography and ciphers with the lesson Cryptography: Sending Secret Messages. Grades 3 through 8 will learn how to use ciphers to encode and decode messages on a 3D printed decoder ring. Students will discover why the Vigenere cipher works better than the Caesar cipher, as they send and decode secret classroom messages! This one-day activity meets Common Core State Standards for solving math problems and using tools strategically.

5. Breathe New Life into Book Reports!

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Add some exciting design elements to your Language Arts lesson with Book Report Keychains! In this activity, students are asked to design and print three keychains – one for three different characters from a recently read book. Each keychain should possess one or more elements of the character’s personality, motivations, challenges, or important relationships in the story.

This project is an interesting, engaging way for grades 4 and 5 to express their reading comprehension. It meets Common Core State Standards for English and Language Arts. In 3 to 5 class sessions, students will enhance their retention, build key 3D design skills, and enjoy 3D printed keepsakes that are unique, eye-catching, and fun!

For more fast, easy 3D printing lessons, explore Quick Projects found in Thingiverse Education!